Overcome Your Fear Of Change

Feeling comfortable in your working life. You’ve learnt the ropes at work and have become pretty efficient at what you do, although there is a repetitive nature to your daily routine and not much variety.

Work’s convenient. What you mean is, it might be a bit of a commute, but some of the people around you commute longer. You consider yourself luckier than some of your colleagues.

The pay’s ok, it pays the bills. There haven’t been too many wage increases, but it could be worse.

Having a routine, being able to anticipate things in your daily life can be reassuring. Stress-free. It can enable you to manage your balance in life.

Metathesiophobia

Metathesiophobia is the Fear of change or changing things.

It has Greek origins: “Meta” means change and “Phobos” means fear.

However, some people can have a fear of change. Or at least, a great apprehension to change, whatever form that change may take.

In a professional context, companies, these days, often go through regular organisational changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

But for whom?

Many people have experienced this type of change several times in the course of their career, either in the same company or with their different employers. Having already seen such change, can give you the tools necessary to better handle the next change that comes along. However, there can be that feeling of dread:

  • lay-offs
  • cost-reduction
  • wage decrease
  • capping/axing of bonuses
  • job or knowledge obsolescence with evolving technology
  • alienation from your employer
  • getting to know yet another group of new colleagues.

Technological Shift

Change can affect your career, depending on your current profile, skills and position held in the company organisation. Having a specialisation can be a massive advantage. However, in the event of a technologic shift, if unanticipated, the days could be numbered for that particular specialisation.

Writing On The Wall

It is rare that a company brutally changes its organisation:

  • due to a merger / a take-over
  • new business processes
  • change of underlying technology
  • change of system landscape.

This generally takes a certain time to determine exactly how the organisation must change.

Then, time is required to actually manage and implement those changes and eventually shift over from legacy to new target system and technology.

It is therefore generally possible to see the proverbial “WRITING ON THE WALL” and understand that useful skills of today are likely to become less useful tomorrow or even obsolete in the near future.

It must be said, that skills do not necessarily become totally obsolete, but can simply become significantly less in demand.

Learning never exhausts the mind”.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

A sense of belonging to your employer

I remember in the past, being an employee of an IT Service Company that literally did significant organisational changes every two years over the six years I worked for them.

No sooner had I gone through my induction, and met my new colleagues, I was whisked off to a customer site and was far removed from the headquarters of my actual employer.

That is part of what you accept when you work in the service industry.

However, soon after, I was informed of an organisational change and found myself transferred from Business Unit (BU) X to BU-Y.

Not working directly with any of the personnel in the same business entity, I rarely saw my “latest” new colleagues.

I changed customers and was sent to Germany and was informed that I was now part of a new Business Unit. And so on…. Rinse and Repeat.

I would say that I was very much accustomed to changing, although I did generally spend on average, a year with the same customer.

However, the down-side was, I felt more of a sense of belonging to my customer than I did to the company that paid my salary.

Laggards

Certain companies are known to be laggards when it comes to making changes to their organisation:

  • business processes
  • company culture
  • internal communication
  • technology and IT systems in place

However, the longer a company takes to accept inevitable change, the more brutal and sudden the change may have to be implemented. Fighting change is generally a painful strategy.

This refusal to embrace new processes, new technology can hinder the development of your skill set.

It has been known for companies to do their utmost, to avoid upgrading its IT systems unless really necessary.

People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.”

Peter Senge

Resistance to such change often ends in tears and hey presto! a tsunami of change may force itself upon the company at the most inconvenient and unexpected time.

This could require the mobilisation of significant resources in both IT and Business departments to meet the new requirement in the IT system.

The result could significantly upset other planned changes in the Business.

The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act according to yesterday’s logic.

Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Be AWARE of your skill set

From the point of view of an individual, there is a need to be aware of the skills you have acquired and how useful they actually are in your current company or with your current customer and above all in the current market.

When you are finished changing, you are finished.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Challenge yourself to attend work presentations and work seminars to keep up-to-date with the evolution of your company.

The company intranet may provide many nuggets of information about happenings in the company sector.

Subscribe to blogs that give you an overview of a particular technical or business skill, an overview of the business sector, of a concept or management tool.

The more you know about your organisation, the more you can relate to where your role fits in with the organisation.

We often find ourselves working in silos and are often clueless about what the neighbouring team are doing and where they fit in with the overall plan. Finding this out may give you more insight about the overall company strategy.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Wayne Gretzky

UPSKILL! If you have access to a training budget, use it wisely!

Constant or at least regular updating of your skills is essential.

Doing so, may put you in a position to avoid being side-lined or simply becoming irrelevant.

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Further Research and Listening

Here’s an extract of Michael Singer (author of The Untethered Soul) being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2012.

Why Are We Afraid of Change? | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

Listen to Meg Robbins talking about the Secret to Changing and her 5-Second Rule

If Change does not hurt a little, it isn’t change

Alizée LICHT

Here, Alizée LICHT interviews 4 women on how they have handled change in their lives

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alizalicht/2018/05/17/the-secrets-to-changing-your-career-by-four-women-who-have-done-it/#1a45555a755c

I would love to hear back from you. Don’t hesitate to leave your comments and I’ll try to answer them as soon as I can.

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